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For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni
For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni 

Classic Garden Route Self-drive

By Helen Austin
Purchasing Manager for Alfred&

Take a road trip via South Africa’s irresistible Garden Route framed by seaside towns, thick emerald forest and a splendid stretch of coastline. Enjoy whale spotting in Hermanus and freshly-shucked oysters in Knysna while travelling at a pace that allows you to pause as you please. Round off with a Big-5 experience in the wild Eastern Cape.

Places

Length
11 days
Best months to go
January to May, September to December
Guide price range
£2,625 - £3,040pp
including international flights

Top Experiences
Itinerary Highlights

Eastern Cape Game Reserves

Bush walks and boat cruising at Kariega Game Reserve

I am very fortunate to spend time out in the bush each day and witness nature’s wonders...

Hermanus and Gansbaai

A memorable whale-watching adventure in Hermanus

We’re ideally placed to see southern rights – our sheltered bays are pretty much their first point of call on their journey north...

Knysna

Check out the steamy goings on at the artsy Turbine Hotel

Walk into a contemporary, stylish space set within the bare bones of a 1920s power turbine...

Day by day
Itinerary in detail

1

Arrival in Cape Town

Welcome to South Africa. On arrival in Cape Town, you’ll collect your hire car and make the 30-minute journey to your comfortable hotel, located close to Long Street and Bree Street in the heart of Cape Town’s foodie scene. This will be your base for the next 3 nights. The afternoon is free to relax on the pool deck, looking out to Table Mountain, or get to know your surroundings on an optional city walking tour. Alternatively, don retro leather jackets, goggles, bandanas and helmets to whizz along the Cape Peninsula in a 1950’s sidecar. This optional activity is sure to kick your trip off in memorable fashion. Overnight at Pepperclub Hotel & Spa.

Things to do:

2

Cape Town

Set dramatically beneath iconic Table Mountain, Cape Town effortlessly blends modern city life with spectacular scenery and outdoor living. Here you’ll experience a vibrant fusion of Dutch, French, English, Xhosa, Malay and Afrikaner cultures, and be greeted as a friend rather than a traveller. Let your exploration be steered by your own personal interests, from extraordinary art galleries to eye-opening museums, from coffee shops to local microbreweries. The optional My Cape Town Explore with a Local tour offers a fantastic introduction to the area, but for the ultimate overview of the city, take to the skies on the optional Three Bays helicopter tour. Within walking distance of the Waterfront, Oranjezicht market in Granger Bay is well worth a visit in the summer months. This foodie paradise offers lovely local produce, take away stalls and evening music. Overnight at Pepperclub Hotel & Spa.

Things to do:

3

Cape Town

Today, continue to soak up the lively local scene. Either in the city itself or take a short bus or taxi ride along the sensational coastline where you’ll find some of the best beaches in the world. Try Camps’ Bay for people watching, Clifton’s tiny 1st to 4th numbered beaches, or Muizenberg for a surfing vibe. The historic Company Gardens or Kirstenbosch Botanical gardens are also a highlight for many guests. You can dig deeper into the regions culture and history on the optional Walk to Freedom tour, exploring the local township communities and visiting Nelson Mandela’s former prison cell on Robben Island. Or head to nearby Constantia to explore South Africa’s oldest wine region on an optional scenic cycle ride. You’ll visit at least three boutique vineyards and taste award-winning wines en route. Overnight at Pepperclub Hotel & Spa.

Things to do:

4

Cape Town & Hermanus

In your own time, leave Cape Town and drive for around 2-hours along the Garden Route to Hermanus. Located on the Western Cape’s renowned Whale Coast, Hermanus is a haven for marine life and wildlife experiences including spotting the Marine Big Five – sharks, whales, dolphins, penguins and seals. From June to December, southern right whales come so close to the shore that they can be viewed from land. Overnight at Abalone Guest Lodge.

Things to do:

5

Hermanus

After breakfast, explore the town on foot, while keeping an eye out for passing whales in the bay. If you’re lucky, you may even cross paths with the Hermanus Whale Crier. But for front row wildlife viewing, hop onboard a 60-foot catamaran for an optional whale watching tour around Walker Bay. This 400 square kilometre sheltered bay offers the warmer, calmer waters that southern right whales need for mating and calving. They generally spend around six months here before returning south to their feeding grounds. There’s also a good chance of spotting humpbacks and Bryde’s whales during the season, as well as other marine life. During the trip, a naturalist expedition guide will share their wide knowledge of whale behaviour with the guests. Overnight at Abalone Guest Lodge.

Things to do:

6

Hermanus & Knysna

Today drive 5-hours to Knysna, your base for the next 3 nights. Set on a sheltered lagoon fed by five rivers and the Indian Ocean, this small town offers a scenic extravaganza. The seemingly never-ending shoreline hides secret swimming spots beneath electric-green ferns and steep sandstone cliffs. The town itself is perfect for pottering, with art galleries and craft shops galore, plus plenty of cafes and seafood restaurants for refuelling. Your accommodation is another of the town’s highlights – an industrial-chic boutique hotel that was lovingly created from the derelict remains of a 1920’s power turbine. Overnight at The Turbine Boutique Hotel & Spa.

Things to do:

7

Knysna

Consider starting your day with a scenic coastal walk to the iconic Knysna Heads, where two dramatic sandstone headlands bear the brunt of Indian Ocean’s crashing waves. An optional Knysna oyster cruise is a relaxing way to spend the afternoon. Setting sail from Thesen Island, where the historic oyster boats used to launch, you’ll explore the second-largest estuary in South Africa while sipping a very good sauvignon blanc and tasting the freshest oysters you’re ever likely to try. You’ll even learn how to open them first! Overnight at The Turbine Boutique Hotel & Spa.

Things to do:

8

Knysna

Today you could explore Knysna Forest, following the trails and boardwalks that wind their way through the impressive giant yellowwood and Cape chestnut trees. This wildlife wonderland is home to rainbow-hued endemic chameleons, red-feathered Loeries, baboons, porcupines, and rare Brenton blue butterflies. Then perhaps hit the beach for your final afternoon in Knysna. Bollard Beach, Brenton-on-Sea and Buffalo Bay are all highly recommended. It's also worth driving 30-minutes to Plettenberg Bay - Plett’ to the locals - for its sweeping beaches, laidback vibe and eco-marine tours. Overnight at The Turbine Boutique Hotel & Spa.

Things to do:

9

Knysna & Eastern Cape Game Reserve

After breakfast, drive to the Eastern Cape for the start of your safari adventure. You’ll spend the next 2 nights at the Kariega Game Reserve, perfectly positioned overlooking the Bushman’s River. You’ll head into the 10,000-hectare private reserve accompanied by skilled local rangers on an afternoon game drives. In addition to the Big Five, Kariega is also home to many other species including zebra, hippo, kudu, wildebeest and hyena. There are also plenty of birds to identify with around 350 different species inhabiting the reserve. As well as the impressive wildlife the landscape is both beautiful and fascinating in equal measures. You’ll explore 5 different eco-systems, namely valley bushveld, savannah grasslands, fynbos, riverine forests and acacia woodland. Overnight at Kariega Game Reserve Main Lodge.

Things to do:

10

Eastern Cape Game Reserve

Enjoy a morning boat cruise along the Bushman’s or Kariega Rivers. This tranquil experience is a great way to observe wildlife from an entirely different perspective. Local bird life is prolific with colourful kingfishers and cormorants often seen perched on the riverbanks, and fish eagles gliding over the water. If you enjoy exploring at your own pace, you’re also welcome to take a canoe for leisurely paddle along the river. Later in the day, once the temperature cools, head into the bush on foot for a guided walking safari. As well as the opportunity for wildlife sightings, you’ll identify paw prints, bird calls and learn the intricate technique of animal tracking. You’ll return to camp in time for relaxing sundowners and dinners under the stars. Overnight at Kariega Game Reserve Main Lodge.

Things to do:

11

Eastern Cape Game Reserve & Departure

After breakfast, drive to Port Elizabeth then fly to either Cape Town or Johannesburg for your return flight to the UK or onward travel.

Holiday Budget
Guide price information

Low Season

01 May - 31 Aug

£2,625

Mid Season

01 Jan - 31 Jan, 01 Mar - 30 Apr, 01 Sep - 31 Dec

£2,960

High Season

01 Feb - 28 Feb

£3,040

Alfred & Helen Austin

Helen was fascinated by travel from an early age, avidly watching holiday programmes and dreaming of future travel plans. Fantasy became reality when she joined Kuoni just over 20 years ago, and she has continued to explore ever since. She fell in love with Africa on her first safari experience in Zambia, watching an elephant herd meander across a dusty track as the sun set dramatically. Subsequent trips to South Africa, Namibia, and Kenya have further fuelled her passion for the wildlife, diverse cultures, and beautiful landscapes of her favourite continent.

Plan your holiday withAlfred&

Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Andy, who's travelled extensively in South Africa. They’ll shape your ideas into the trip of a lifetime. But they won't do it alone. They'll draw on the expertise of our contacts on the ground, connecting you to the people who'll make your holiday one you'll always remember - ex banker who can show you the hottest foodie spots in Cape Town, the award-winning young sommelier who can introduce you to Stellenbosch's finest wines and the walking safari ranger who can guide you to the best game.

Freephone an expert 01306 744 656